Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
Gerjan Snippe, BioBrass:

"Large scale organic cultivation, but space, and variation, as a unique base"

“Do I look like an organic producer?” This was how Gerjan Snippe of BioBrass from Zeewolde introduced himself in a presentation during the Amsterdam Produce Show. To invigorate the clichés, he took a pair of goat wool socks from his back pocket (in the Netherlands, the expression ‘goat wool socks type’ means a tree-hugger kind of person). “If I ask people what organic really means, I often get the answer: it is too expensive, it does not always look pretty, and no chemical pesticides are used. This is definitely not the basis of organic food, because there is so much more to it!”

As an example, the producer spoke of the extensive crop rotation that BioBrass uses to produce a broad assortment of vegetables for retail as well as the processing industry. “Our company has a goal to tie itself as efficiently as possible to the food chain and to combine this with rest, space, and crop rotation. This combination makes it possible for more and more people to enjoy beautiful, healthy, affordable, and most of all, delicious organic vegetables.”

Crop rotation
The cultivation acreage of BioBrass consists of about 250 hectares for cauliflower, broccoli, kale varieties, parsnip, and various lettuce varieties. These are mainly determined for the Dutch, British, German, and Scandinavian market. “Because of the crop rotation, we need about 2000 hectares for this. This scale and specialization is only possible due to a unique collaboration between connected soil partners,” says Gerjan. 

The producer said that he had many questions, some years ago, when the WUR-CEO Aalt Dijkhuizen said that organic production was not sustainable. “According to him, sustainability was mainly ‘produce more with less’. “It holds a mirror up against a worldwide context in terms of growth of world populations, health aspects, and food waste. Thanks to a Nuffield Scholarship, I have had the chance and the network to delve into the issue by travelling around the world for six weeks. By going into conversation with producers with different cultivation methods, a practical view originated of what actually ‘farmers with knowledge’ are. This world trip and the conversations gave me a confirmation of the force that is exerted by organic businesses and taught me how to tell the most relevant story behind organic production, and how to unburden customers with organic convenience foods. In addition, it taught me that producing organically and being certified is only the beginning, because the developing of the cultivation and business model from the global perspective is definitely a part of that. 

“Sustainability is more than just organic cultivation, and a properly tuned chain is the basis of a logical continuation. Our products are mainly processed and packaged at the production company itself. This prevents the creation of unnecessary costs, the product spends less time on the road, and the rest can be used for cattle feed, for example,” Gerjan summed up. 

From this philosophy, a new beet company arose during the past years: Beetz. “Beets could be a more beautiful, important, and valuable part of any diet, and with that of the category fruits and vegetables. By linking the cultivation, processing possibilities, and product developments together, seen from a category point of view, we could fulfil this mission,” Gerjan believes. Within a healthy crop rotation between the production companies in the Netherlands and Spain the base, the beetroot, is produced. Size, sweetness, freshness, and type of end product, determine the planning and production specifications under which this takes place. Organic production and corresponding procedure is the basic principle. At our production company in the Netherlands, the products are processed to various final products. The facilities have been developed thus, that the desired category determines what happens with specification and presentation.”

In the meantime, Gerjan has equipped a visitor’s centre to involve stakeholders with his company philosophy. “We are very happy to share the vision and passion of our production method with customers, consumers, policymakers, students, pupils, in other words everybody. For this purpose, we show on a smaller scale what we are really doing with our company. Looking, talking, feeling, smelling, and mainly tasting together, are ways for us to explain why organic cultivation is anything but complicated and can produce beautiful, healthy, affordable, and mainly tasty vegetables.”

For more information:
Gerjan Snippe
Bio Brass
Winkelweg 57
3896 LH Zeewolde (Netherlands)
tel +31 36-5228430
fax +31 36-5228308
Publication date: